This article originally appeared at Baptist News Global on August 11, 2023.
Last Saturday afternoon, historian Kristin Du Mez sat down at her computer to see if her new friend Lindsay Booker had posted any updates about the gathering Booker organized earlier that day at the Madison Library in Huntsville, Ala.
Even though Du Mez was not involved in organizing the event, her book Jesus and John Wayne was being given away along with a children’s book titled All Are Welcome after Booker posted a TikTok video offering free copies to people who would come out “to support teachers and librarians.”
That support was needed in Huntsville because it was to be the latest destination in a national tour by actor Kirk Cameron, who has been cashing in on evangelical fears of LGBTQ people by waging war with “woke libraries” in a publicity stunt for his new children’s book.
The event in Huntsville was sponsored by Moms for Liberty, a conservative political group that protests any discussion of LGBTQ rights, Critical Race Theory, and discrimination in school curricula.
Earlier this year, Cameron told Fox News librarians and educators are engaged in “tactics of war” to promote their ideals of inclusion and diversity.
So perhaps Du Mez should not have been surprised when she searched the internet for news of the Saturday event and found nothing positive.
She couldn’t find images of the homemade signs supporting teachers and librarians. She never read the testimony of a Huntsville police officer who had said her friend’s event went very well and that everyone was nice. She found nothing about the members of the two groups finding mutuality through conversation. And she didn’t hear the words of Booker’s friend Lauren, who spoke with Fox News.
Instead, Du Mez stumbled across a headline from Fox News that painted a very different picture: “Police in Alabama Stop Noisy Protesters from Disrupting Kirk Cameron Library Event.”
Contradicting the testimony of a Huntsville police officer, Fox News began its coverage by claiming police “prevented a crowd of protesters from disrupting a story hour.”
Fox News claimed Booker’s peaceful group “reportedly attempted to enter the event” and held signs that called conservative Christians haters and bigots, while the parents and children were simply “trying to enjoy (Cameron’s) book reading.”
Du Mez wrote on her Substack: “Wow, that wasn’t what I was expecting to hear. I was surprised. That didn’t sound like the event Booker had planned. She’d asked participants to keep things positive. She’d worked with the police to ensure that they were welcome and that they knew what rules to follow.”
Then Du Mez asked, “How is this possible? These aren’t just different interpretations of the same event, these are completely incompatible descriptions.”
As has been routinely documented, Fox News reported a “reality” that was not real at all.